The Sweet-ish Meatball Sandwich: Part One - The Meatball
Oh hello there! I’m terrible at keeping up with this here blog. Even right now, I keep looking around the room for something else to do. How rude!
This time, I actually come to you with a for real recipe. I wrote everything down this time. I could say an award winning recipe, as this is just coming off the heels of a cook-off win this past weekend [judges’ choice], but then I think to myself, “shut up, Cat.” So I shall call itA Pretty Awesome Swedish Meatball Recipe.
As part of the touring cook-off series, The Food Experiments our challenge was to represent for the sandwich capital of the world [says me], Philadelphia, by making a sandwich. Since we ended up in 2nd place last year at The Cheese Experiment, we knew we had to put extra thought into this one. We actually had a sandwich party where we invited some friends over, and made 3 different sandwiches; a thanksgiving one, a macaroni and cheese steak one, and a turkey and bacon one. They were all pretty good, but I wasn’t gettingTHAT FEELING.Whatever that feeling happens to be is pretty important to me when it comes to cook-off competitions, so between the 2 of us, we tried 2 more; a cubano, and a Swedish meatball sandwich. While the cubano was decent, as a newish carnivore, I’m not totally in love with or understanding of pork [I know, I know], so it just didn’t work for me. And let’s be real, I was only in it for the pickles…..sweet sweet pickles…….ANYWAY -
We decided on the Swedish Meatball Sandwich for many reasons. 1] Who doesn’t love a meatball? Affordable, practical, and hella easy to mess with in whatever way you’d like. 2] Given the way it’s traditionally served, it was a perfect opportunity to showcase sweet and savory by including a berry sauce. 3] I have an unhealthy obsession with all things Nordic. It’s possible that somewhere in my warped mind I figured “if you make it, they will come…and fly you back to Sweden for free, and quite possibly make you the Queen of all of Scandinavia.” So there’s that, it was a done deal. I had made them a few times before, but I hadn’t reallyexperimentedwith them, and all that they could truly be. My goal really was to make a modernized version of the meatball with lots of traditional Swedish flavors. Our first mistake was adding dill to the meatball [them Swedes love their dill]. It gave the meatball too much of a grassy flavor. But then I thought, YOU KNOW WHAT’S GREAT WITH DILL??? PICKLES! HELL YEAH! So needless to say, I also made pickles for the event. That recipe is for another time though…if I can remember it. So without getting too much into my thought process for this, and believe me that could take years, here is our recipe.
2/3 lb. ground beef
1/3 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs [I made mine using test rye bread]
1/2 cup raw minced onion, which typically cooks down to about 1/4 cup
a little less than 1/2 cup whole milk
1 packet Goya ham flavored concentrate [stuff is magical]
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1.5 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons [or more] grated Västerbotten or gruyere cheese
*In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, milk and ham concentrate. Let sit for 10 minute while combining the remaining ingredients. I like to combine the beef, pork and onion first and make sure that is all evenly distributed. Then add the rest of the ingredients, leaving the soaked bread crumbs for last. Form balls using about 3 tablespoons of the mixture. Do not overwork the mixture…just loosely form it into a ball-like shape. In our case, we wanted them to go on a sandwich, so we flattened them out slightly, like a thick burger.
*Pre-heat the oven for 400 degrees. Cook the meatballs in a shallow pan with a tablespoon of butter, making sure all sides have browned. Again, in our case, since it was more like a burger, we only browned ours on 2 sides.
*Reserve greasy goodness that’s left in the pan after browning. You’ll want this for the gravy later. Place the meatballs in a pan, filled with chicken broth, so that the broth is half covering the meatballs. Cook in the oven until the meatballs are 165 degrees inside…this took approximately 15-20 minutes.
*Reserve the chicken broth that you just cooked the meatballs in, because you’ll want that for the gravy as well.
And there you have it! Some award winningpretty awesome Swedish meatballs!! I will cover the berry sauce and the goat cheese gravy in the next entry…if I can get it together enough to do a next entry.